DORTMUND GERMANY - FEBRUARY 09: Antonio Cassano of Italy during the International Friendly match between Germany and Italy on February 9 2011 in Dortmund Germany. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Antonio Cassano Out Until June Following Heart Surgery

AC Milan and Italy forward Antonio Cassano underwent heart surgery in November. It was originally thought he would be out roughly three months, but he will be out until June.

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Antonio Cassano Out Until June Following Heart Surgery

When Antonio Cassano underwent heart surgery in November, it was thought that he could potentially return to action after three months, giving him plenty of time to get back into AC Milan's first team and get himself onto Italy's Euro 2012 roster. Now, it appears that Milan will be without him for the rest of the season and that he will not be heading to the European Championships this summer. Cassano is set to miss another six months, and is unlikely to return to full training before June.

AC Milan have played well since Cassano became ill in late October, but hasn't found a direct replacement for him in their team, leading to their pursuit of Carlos Tevez. Italy will also struggle to replace Cassano, and Cesare Prandelli might have to adjust his tactics. Antonio Di Natale is expected to play in the February friendly against the United States and could force his way into Cassano's place.

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Antonio Cassano Undergoes Successful Heart Surgery

29-year-old AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano is expected to be released from hospital at the end of the weekend after successful heart surgery. The striker suffered a transient ischaemic attack - a mini-stroke, to use the layman's term on Saturday following Milan's match against Roma and has been kept in hospital since. The surgery fixed a congenital defect in the Italy international's heart that contributed to the problem, and, fortunately, Milan are saying that it went well:

The procedure on Antonio Cassano's patent foramen ovale finished at 8:35 am and all has gone well. The cardiac procedure to close his patent foramen ovale in Antonio's heart was done under local anaesthetic. The procedure was carried out by Professor Mario Carminati and Milan's team doctor Rodolfo Tavana was present.

Cassano is still expected to be out of action for most of the rest of the season as he gradually recovers, and his place at the 2012 European Championships will also be at risk. There are more important things than football, however, and it sounds as though he'll be ok. Although he might have to cut down on the cake.

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Antonio Cassano Set To Undergo Heart Surgery, Will Miss At Least Three Months Of Season

Last week, after AC Milan's win over Roma, Antonio Cassano felt ill as the plane touched down back in Milan. The forward was experiencing blurred vision, difficulty speaking, trouble moving, and a host of other problems typically deemed "not good" for a footballer. His symptoms pointed to a stroke, and he remained in hospital, undergoing a barrage of tests, while the calcio community sent him messages of support.

Now, it's time to get out the get-well cards again: Cassano will undergo minor heart surgery to repair a slight perforation. The stroke-like symptoms were a result of an ischemic attack, brought on by the heart's inability to get all the necessary blood to his brain. The surgery should resolve this issue, but it will keep the Italian international out of commission for 3-6 months -- although more will be known about his recovery period after the surgery, which should occur later in the week.

Stroke, brain issues, heart problems. A player well known for his affection for cakes and nutella and other fine things in life. The jokes should abound, but it's near-impossible to crack them in this context. Fantantonio has had an impressive season, both for Milan and Italy. He's been an utter joy to watch, and realizing we won't be seeing him on the pitch for such a long time makes the heart ache a bit.

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Positive News About Cassano Mystery Illness

Antonio Cassano was admitted to hospital in Milan on Saturday, after flying back from Roma that evening. Although it initially seemed as though the AC Milan forward was going to be fine, with reports suggesting he even was released early Sunday morning, Cassano was then admitted to the hospital's neurology ward, where further tests were run on his heart and brain.

Reports on Monday remain mysterious, although Cassano's condition is thought to be improving. It seems the stroke-like symptoms that caused him to be admitted (blurred vision, disorientation, difficulty speaking) are no longer. However, it's likely Antonio will have to take a break from calcio, in order for the doctors to run more tests and determine what, exactly, this mystery illness is.

If the media do have questions, it's best not to ask them of Adriano Galliani: "I don’t know how long it will take for him to return. I’m not a medic, that is not my profession. He’s being looked after." Perhaps it's not your profession, Mr. Galliani, but it's something you should probably ask one of Cassano's doctors at some point. Maybe just a rough idea?

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